Returning the Favor and other Slices of Life

Returning the Favor
Returning the Favor
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Monday, October 31, 2005

Harrah's Cherokee trip report

Digital casino with no poker in a dry county. Should I even bother continuing?

Let's start with Digital Blackjack. Somebody went to a lot of trouble to come up with this shit. There's a table, chips and a dealer, just like in a real casino, except when she hits the Deal button, cards show up on your computer screen. Just as -EV as live blackjack. Virtual 6-deck shoe, with sensors to see if you have chips in the circle before bets are closed. Really, somebody spent a shitload of time and money coming up with this. I guess it eliminates dealer error. Eliminated a lot of dealer tips, too. I was the only one I saw toke the hour I was sitting there.

Then there's video poker. I'm sure there's some appeal somewhere to video poker and slot machines, but not while sober.

Still managed to piss away $150 over the course of the evening. Then came home and dumped about $70 on TruePoker when my flopped 2 pair didn't hold up against the morons I was playing with. That wiped out my meager winnings for this week, but other than my drunkenness Friday night, I'm still even for the week. And we're just counting the cash I spent Friday as good money spent on entertainment, because it was worth it just for the chat between Daddy and Bobby Bracelet. Those two are five of the funniest people I know.

Something relevant may come soon. The WPBT Vegas trip can't get here soon enough. I need to play face-to-face with crazy people, and soon!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Morning After

I will not blog while drunk.
I will not lemur off $20 at the $.05/$.10 NLHE tables while drunk.
I will not try to hang with poker bloggers at drinking.
I will not blog while drunk.
I will not drink half a bottle of cinnamon liqueur the the night before a 3-hour road trip.
I will not call G-Rob's all in.
Yes I will.
But I will not blog while drunk.


Friday, October 28, 2005

Grob sucks at poker

Update - I'm shitty drunk and G-Rob just busted Daddy to win the whole friggin' thing. Good game G-Rob! Kicked my sorry arse,. Thank god for TruePoker ring games, those people are fuckin' stoooopid. I could probably play them drunk and be + EV, but we' not gonna risk it.

Thank god for spellcheck. Savior of drunken bloggers everywhere,.

Not really - but he did just crack my pocket kings with his pocket 3s. Course the other monkey who went all in preflop with AK sooted also woulda cracked my Kings, too, so there is that. But that was my trip from #6 in chips in the Wil Wheaton dot Net weekly tourney to busted in 40th place by the man with the best hair in poker - G-Rob!

So here I am minding my own business (yeah bullshit I know), when I get seated at the same table as Austin April and Daddy to start the whole thing. I'm skeert already, and it gets nothing but worse when the 860th greatest poker player in the world, Bobby Bracelet, sits down. But I manage to lemur myself into a decent position, top 10 or so in chips, when I bust out the guy next to me. Who should sit down, but the one, the only, the man, the myth, the legend, the friggin' chip leader - G-ROB!!!!

I'm 2nd in chips and Pokerstars decides that warrants sticking the chip leader on my right elbow. Oh, the humanity. So G-Rob proceeds to tear up the table as only he can, but we pretty much stay out of each other's way (except for him stealing my blinds more times than I felt was absolutely necessary), while knocking out a few other folks, including me inflicting an unfortunate suckout broadway straight on the river to bust some perfectly nice person with a Duke Blue Devils avatar whose name I don't recall.

The there is THE HAND. I look (blearily, as my 3rd Chat-A-Shot has passed, and I'm kinda buzzy by now) at my screen and see iTunes playing a CRUSHING Sam Bush show from Asheville this summer. Wait, that's now. No, I look down and see pocket Kings. Cowboys. Crush (to steal a phrase from Daddy, who had gotten a table change and made it back to witness this evil).

Some yo to G-Rbo's right raises 3xBB. He obviously hasn't gotten the memo. G-rob to my right goes all-in preflop. He's used this tactic a couple of times already and I figure nobody catches aces that often, so I call him. Yo calls u both. I turn up my cowboys, G-Rob turns up his 3s, and the yo turns up AK suited. I think "I'm so fucked. There's no way this holds up."

Flop - 4 3 Q

Turn - A

River - not a King

And I'm out in 40th, courtesy of G-Rob's 2-outer.

If he sucks at poker, then I'm a donkey-fucking lemur.

Waitaminit, maybe...

Here's the quote of the night, courtesy of (who else?) Daddy

never had intercourse with a monkey, but my cousing sucked of patrick ewing once.

Good game, G-Rob. Now bust the rest of these motherfuckers!


Chad asked the following question over on his blog, so I thought I'd give my answers in my own little way.

1. If you're participating in your first WPBT event, how are you feeling right about now? (looks like about 20 or so newbies, not sure any are reading this right now) I guess this is my first official WPBT event, and I'm stoked! But let's flash back to the summer...

After a 15-minute rant about lack of laundy and not being able to find my lucky "Freak Parade" T-shirt and the ill-fitting poop-brown T that my loving wife had bought me being the only thing clean, I cruised down I-85 with no small amount of butterflies bouncing around my overdeveloped tummy.

WTF was I trying to do? I was driving two hours away to play poker in some guy's house that I had never met, with a bunch of people I had never met before for more money than I could really afford to play around with comfortably. I am so f'n out of my league, dude. Some of these guys play poker FOR A LIVING!!! And most of them have been playing a lot better, and totally a lot longer than I have. And what if I get sat with Iggy? Bad enough he's the blogfather, how hard can you play against a midget housewife and not feel bad? So there may have been a little bit of nerves involved.

Then I meander around BFE suburban G-Vegas, where I'm pretty sure they have to FedEx in sunshine every morning to find Casa de Otis. There's already a pile of people there, and I'm pretty sure most of them are smarter, funnier and better poker players than me. Is this what that nancy-boy Mike felt like walking into Teddy's joint? Did I really just have a random Rounders reference? I gotta get out more! How am I gonna know who anybody is? Have any of them even ever read my miserable excuse for a blog? What will I have to talk about with anyone? Will I be expected to drink like Al? That would certainly reveal me as the one incapable of hanging. Oh wait, that's Al, he looks just like the photos on his website.

Funny how that works, people wandering around the yard drinking looking just like online photos of themselves drinking. So I introduce myself to Al, he's cool, the barbecue is unveiled and I end up in a conversation with Wes about the relative merits of SC and NC barbecue. And it's a noun, fuckers. Then I realize that the woman we've been chatting with is Maudie, and all my fears of nothing to talk about go away, while I have a great chat with Lefty and then Maudie about theatre and its merits (and lack thereof). This is cool, it's like I've known these folks my whole life. Oh, That's Otis. And the tall guy is G-Rob. This might be okay after all. Now if I can just NOT embarass myself on the tourney, it will all be fine.

We won't discuss runner runner quads again. But we will talk into the night about Eva's bartending abilities and the consolation beverages she was mixing for everyone. Then it's time for the cash games. Thank god for cash games, right? Yeah, right. You try sitting into a cash game after playing cards for less than a year with the people who you read about strategy with. I'm sitting at a cash game with Heather, Maudie, BadBlood, G-Rob, Gracie, Frank the Tank and TheMark. I'm doomed. Okay, the buy-in is $60. I brought enough for 2 buy-ins. I never play more than $20 a night. This is gonna huuuuurt. G-Rob raises. Blood Calls. Table folds. G-Rob raises, table folds. G-Rob sucks out on Maudie, table folds. G-Rob has half my chips. STOP CALLING G-ROB YOU JACKASS!!!

Half an hour into this I realize that my buzz is gone and I can play poker. I wonder how much G-Rob bribed Eva to get us all liquored up before the cash game? After a good 3 hours of poker, maybe the best 3 hours I've had playing poker, we're done because the food is there. I realize that I can play with these folks. At least today. Okay, got out of that, and covered my miserable tournament loss, too. God, these guys are fun.

In essence, it really was like walking into a home game and sitting down with people you play cards with every week. It's like you've heard the same jopkes before and you don't mind. I was afraid that it would all be DoubleAs-level poker thinking, but no worries about that with G-Rob dropping the Hammer like it's going out of style. There was crazy play, there was solid play, there was gear-shifting that would make Gus Hansen proud. I learned more sitting at Otis' dining room table about poker than I have in the year I've played. I was warm and fuzzy to be able to sit there and hang out, and felt like Indiana Jones outrunning that big frickin' boulder to have escaped The Mark and BadBlood's 3-handed NL Omaha Hi/Lo lemur-fest with any money at all.

It was an evening like a family reunion. At least if your family is kinda insane, and mine is, so it felt right at home. Even the Drunk-A-Lympics reminded me of, well, every weekend in high school.

So that's how I felt walking into my first blogger gathering, and now I feel like if I was in the neighborhood, I'd be perfectly comfortable calling up any of those folks and saying "wassup? Let's go catch a beer!" Which reminds me, almost time to shut down here at the office and stop by the liquor store on the way home. WWdN Up4Poker Tourney tonight at 9, and I think a few Chat-a-shots may have to happen. IM is jhartnessnc, I'll be online for shots tonight after 8.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

True? Poker?

This was the first site I played on, and thought it was sooo cool because you could be all these other things - bikers, geeks, space aliens, whatever. Maybe geek and space alien aren't much of a stretch...

Anyway, I keep venturing back to TruePoker every once in a while to see what's up and get slapped on the nuts for old times sake, because they don't spread anything lower than $1/$2 limit, and the smallest NL they spread is the same. Until now. Apparently sometime since I was there last, Truepoker, which is honestly a major lemur-farm, has started spreading lower-limit tables, including the ever-popular (at least in this house) 6-max $25 NL tables. And they offered me a 50% reload bonus, so I dropped a few bucks in.

God those players suck. Even more than me. And that's impressive. Table selection is tough, because there just aren't very many people on, but if you can find a good one, you're golden. I managed to triple my buyin at one table before dinner this evening. Then gave back all my profits on a tougher table after dinner. But even the losses are more rough beats and draws not coming through than actually getting outplayed (which certainly happens often enough for me to recognize). So go give it a look, it promises to be profitable. The reload bonus kinda sucks, because even though it's a 50% bonus, it's also a 20x raked hands bonus, and you gotta have at least $1 in rake. So it's gonna take forever for me to clear it, if I can manage at all. Good news is that it clears in $5 increments for every $100 in raked hands, so that helps a little.

And I updated the blogroll. Go to THG's blog for some fantastic cartoons!

Monday, October 24, 2005


New subheading came from the chat box at the TV Hair table at yesterday's Blogger Championship on Stars. Can't remember who the guy was that said it, but I was ROFLMAO.

Sunday Busy Sunday

So I woke up Sunday in Raleigh. Wake Forest, actually, about 3 hours from home. I had been there for two days as an adjudicator (not judge) in the NC Theatre Conference High School Theatre Festival (not contest). In a day and a half I watched 12 high school plays, cut down to 45 minutes each. For some of you this may sound a bit like running your nuts through a wood chipper, but I actually enjoy it. The quality of theatre is typically better than you would expect, with some bold choices in material and some excellent production values. We saw an excellent production of Charlotte's Web (no really, it kicked ass), a great segment of The Kentucky Cycle called Tall Tales, and a piece called Norah's Lost, which was a heartbreaking piece about the death of an old woman with Alzheimer's. I was really in no shape to adjudicate that piece, since a month ago my grandmother died, and she had been suffering from Alzheimer's for years. So that was kinda ugly. But I got over it. Mostly.

Drove home in time to not be at strike for my show. Love it. And in time to play the Pokerstars Blogger Championship Tourney. Loved it. Good structure, with 2,000 starting chips and 30 minute levels. I was at a table with a bunch of ghosts and folks I didn't know, but I went over to sweat Wil, G-Rob and Al at the TV Hair table for a little while. I did okay, managed to squeak out in 115th out of over 1400 players, so I'm happy with my performance. For the last hour of the blogger tourney, I was being blinded out of the live tourney I play in monthly here in town, so as soon as I busted, I hopped my ass in the car and proceeded to not make the money in that one either. I just couldn't really get anything going in either tourney, despite playing The Hammer to the hilt in both games, bluffing hard post-flop in the blogger tourney and catching a pair of 7s to make bottom pair good in the live tourney. In the end, my AQ no good in either one.

Thank God for cash games. And loose callers. When Dad raised all-in over my $4 bet with my KQ, and Nat called all-in, I figured what the hell, it's just another $3 for a Q-high flop and my kicker is pretty good. When Dad flipped Q5 o/s and Nat showed his flush draw, I was even for the night on one hand. Ended up catching enough good cards and pushing enough thin edges to finish up $40 in the cash game, which covered my tourney buy-in and a $20 profit. Not bad for $10 buy-in .25/.50 NL. In the interests of full disclosure I did buy in for $20 in the cash game just to have enough ammo, but I still left with profit. So it was a good night all around.

The blogger tourney was great, a ton of fun, and I hope that Pokerstars will do it again. I really like their tourney structures there, so will probably be on tonight for one of their cheapo NLHE MTTs. I'm gonna try and follow the teachings of Joanne and look at making the money as a victory, and focus on that first, then make moves to increase the profits. Let's see if I can adopt that mindset change.

Oh, and Vegas update - Me, Twitch, E3 and BlackMike will be there from Wednesday - Monday. Cashing in the frequent flyer points means flying at the whim of USelessAirways. More time in Vegas. Darn, whatever will we do?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Last Longer

Who's up for a last longer bet for the Pokerstars Blogger Championship? I'd say with as many of us as are registered, at $10 a head, that should add a nice little bump to the prize pack for whoever is the top-ranked poker blogger at the end.

Here are the criteria:

1) You must have a poker blog. You must appear on the blogroll of a poker blog. Preferably Iggy's, since his blogroll is bigger than Bobby's junk.

2) Gotta sign up in the comments field here, with your name from Pokerstars. Mine is Jhartness, by the way. I know, startingly original.

Why am I volunteering to give Joanne my money? Cause I'm stuck at work for another 34 minutes, and if I don't blog, my project manager can hear me snore all the way outside my office and across the room.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

For the Children...or at least for a sick buddy.

So last night was the Benefit Tournament for Carl McIntyre, a local actor who had a serious stroke last month and is working through some serious rehab. We had 28 participants, raising an impressive $2,850.00 for Carl’s Rehab Fund. It was a good time, with great donated prizes (GO FOOOD!) and lots of donated theatre tickets.

Full disclosure: I don’t know Carl well, we only met once at a show. But he’s been a part of our theatre community for many moons and I wanted to play and help set up the venue because it’s what you do when people in your world get f’d up by life. So I donated 4 season tickets to Off-Tryon, and plunked down my donation to play.

We all started with T2500, blinds 25/50, 20-minute levels. Pretty aggressive timing, but we only had about 5 hours to get done, so we needed to be quick like bunny.

I started a real tourney report, but I suck at tourney reports. Go read Pauly for that. Here are some fun pictures and a brief recap.

Nester got pizza, so he had to quit his bitchin.

Johnny Burrito (red hair) not suspecting that few hands later he would become the victim of THE HAMMER! Yes, indeed, I called from the button with the Hammer and flopped trip 7s to bust out the BurritoMan! Many other people who busted out before me replied "please keep playing the 2/7." They just don't understand the power of the Hammer.

Nester now has no pizza. And no chips. Hey Rocky, watch me pull 2nd Best Hand outta my hat!

Carl's wife Elizabeth, accepting Carl's 1st-Out Consolation prize of a Barbizon Lighting fanny pack and a Johnny Burrito gift pack. That's right, Carl showed up a month after his stroke and played in his own tournament! He's still not talking very well, but he's moving around great and his physical recovery is pretty amazing.

No the camera's in focus, Chip just looks blurry from the bad beats he took to bust his happy ass out.

This time the hands holding the Hammer belong to "Dad" Jim E. He not only played the Hammer, he pushed all in with it preflop! Balls to bet, cards to call. Dad doubled up this hand.

Chris (left) always looks like that - behind a big stack of chips. Greg (stupid hat) plays cards better than he dresses himself. Thank god. Greg took down the last-longer bet among the banker boyz. I'll admit, I was a bit nervous trying to figure pot odds at a table with 4 bankers, a CPA and me. Then I remembered my recent bank statements and figured I'm ok, these guys all work for my bank, so I know they can't add! Chris ended up in 4th place, representin' fo' the theatre folk.

Yeah, Jim, you look like you just took a kick in the junk. Oh wait, you did. Good playing with you, though.

Mongo says "D'OH!!"

George and Sean eventually ended up the top 2 after George's AK knocked out my A8 in 3rd place. I took down a $50 gift certificate to a restaurant I can't afford, so now I can check it out. They played heads-up for about 30 minutes before Sean finally got the better of George to take down the 1st Annual Carl McIntyre Benefit Tourney. Congrats! Sean made a monster comeback, coming to the final table seriously shortstacked after losing a coinflip to Chris when Chris' AJ caught to break up Sean's pocket 5s. We all felt the need to contribute since I think he doubled through 3 different people on his great run to the win. Congrats Sean!

A great time was had by all, can't wait to do it again!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Short bits

Saturday night - up $27 in my home game, breaking a 3-week slide. Frickin' finally! The people around me have progressed in skill really rapidly, and I have spent the last little while pissing away chips in an apparent desire to congratulate them on their growth. Managed to put a stop to the bleeding this weekend. Even Mrs. Falstaff was only down five bucks by the time she decided to blow that pop stand,

Sunday - do-it-yourself computer upgrades from hamfisted electrician continues with installing of new video card. Bootlegged Family Guy episodes look so much cooler now. And I can finally run the Neverwinter Nights expansion pack I bought a year ago before I realized that I'd need a 1GB RAM upgrade, bigger HD AND new video card to run it. I've now officially spent more money upgrading my computer than I spent buying it.

Sunday Evening - Lemured off a bunch of chips with this odd addiction I have to Omaha Hi on Party. Hi, my name is Falstaff and I am an Omaha fish. Played a little $1 SNG on Stars and realized that I need to finish Harrington on Hold Em vol. 2 so I can finish the damn things off. I got so caught up in the fact that my M was down to 9, I stopped paying attention to the fact that everyone else's M was between 2 and 4 and I had the 2nd largest chip stack. Played like a lemur, lost the dollar. Will do it again and again until I hammer out the appropriate closing strategy.

Side note - These $1 5-table SNGs are frickin' luck-fests full of maniacs, but I've found that if you can hang out til the final table, the play there isn't dreadful, as it's usually people doing exactly what I'm doing - using these micro-buyins to plug a leak in their game. At least that's what I hope I'm doing. So far these $1 SNGs are -EV for me, one of just a couple of aspects of my game that are definitely in the red.

I'll try to get some pics of tonight's benefit tourney.



Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Bonuses & Stuff

So in looking over my stats, I realize that I am a terrible online cash game player. This is not news, but it is somewhat baffling, since I play at Party and Stars, which should be the biggest of fishponds. Note - Stars less so. Really. So over the weekend I spent some serious (like 15 hours) time in front of the monitor trying to work on leaks and figure out why I suck so bad.

First realization - I suck at poker. No really, not like G-Rob saying he sucks, then taking all your money, I suck. At least I suck at online poker. And most of it comes from a lack of discipline. I'm at that point that most people get to after about a year of serious play, where I know most of the hands that I'm going to play, and pretty much how I'm going to play them, so a lot of the excitement of figuring that shit out is gone. I push the edges, I punish the draws, all that.

At the limits I can afford right now, you can only punish a draw so much. And that has led me to realize that if I'm going to bother continuing with online poker, I need to spend some time really caring about bankroll management and build my roll into something that will allow me to move up in limits.

Now I have a decent job, and pick up enough side work as a designer to fund my poker habit, so I haven't cared too much about bankroll management before now. Well, the wife's job expires next week, so I need to pay a little more attention. Pretty much, the couple hundred bucks I've got online now is all that goes online for quite a while, so I need to maximize the effectiveness of it all and actually win some freaking money online, instead of counting on my home game stuff to fund my online horrible play.

So that led me with great interest to Emprie's 50% reload bonus last weekend. I dumped my $200 in, looking at the 500 raked hands I'd need to play to get my $100 with a little trepidation. I've never paid attention to the rake at my limits before, because it's usually so small as to be not noticeable. Then I noticed that a lot of hands at the limit tables went unraked. That was doing me no good, since I wasn't winning much there, I needed to be able to clear my bonus quickly to get my cash off this site. Especially with the Party de-skinning that happened the day after I made my deposit. Joy.

So I grab a seat at the 6-handed $25 NL table, and proceed to nut peddle. And I quickly realized that, for me, the action at the 6-handed tables moves a little too fast for me to comfortably work off my bonuses. It's not that the play is any better, really, it's just that the blinds really move around quickly, so with the reduced number of players on Empire this weekend, it became pretty unappealing. So I jumped into a full $25 NL table. Not bad, moved pretty quickly, but I found myself becoming bored really quickly, as there still were only 2-3 hands per orbit that were even worth my blinds. So I added a Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo table, and promptly got my nuts kicked in.

But I really like Omaha, and I'm kinda stupid anyway, so I went back for more. Reload, foot to junk, repeat. Then I look at the board and realize that I'm getting killed on the low draws and the quarters. So I jump to Omaha Hi, and meet with some more reasonable success. So I manage, 2-tabling Omaha and Hold Em, to clear my bonus within a couple of days and run into the night with a net $55 profit from the bonus. Which essentially means that I didn't win a damn thing, but I got my bonus, and that covered the $45 I lost while playing off my bonus. Still pretty good, all things considered.

The thing I learned from that experience, is how to really nut peddle in Omaha. If you've got the nuts, push. Hard. If you've got the nuts with no redraws and more cards coming, push less hard. If you're drawing to the nuts in a couple of different directions, call. Depending on the odds, but usually call. If there's a pair on the board and you don't have a boat, you don't have the nuts. So fold. It's safer to believe that the maniac across the table has the nuts and save your cash than to pay him off just to see if you're right.

This is not good Omaha strategy for general play. I don't have a good Omaha strategy for general play, but this is a decent way to play while you're working off a bonus, because at that point, I was looking at my bonus as what was paying me off, and anything i could win above breaking even for the session was gravy. Because if I'm 2-tabling (I know, I only play 2 at a time, but remember, I suck at poker) even full tables of Omahaha, I should be able to get in 50 hands/hour, which will work off a 500 hand bonus in 10 hours, for a $10/hr. rate of pay.

So that's my experiences this weekend working off my bonuses, I welcome other ideas/contributions from folks with more experience. This will have to become a more serious part of my play if I'm to keep playing online, since my freewheeling redeposits are coming screeching to a halt.

And does anybody know a good roofer or plumber in Charlotte? I need some work done on the house in a big way.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Vegas, Baby!

Sometimes life is full of surprises. And sometimes they're even good things.

Good things are logging into your USAirways frequent flyer account for the first time in 4 years to find out that not only do the miles never expire, but that you're only 4,000 miles away from free trip. Better things are logging into your Marriott rewards account to find out that for 20,000 Marriott points, you can buy 5,000 USAirways miles. And you have 34,000 Marriott points.

That math, taken with the fact that 25,000 USAirways miles gets you a free roundtrip coach flight, means that I'm officially going to be in Vegas for the WPBT gathering in December! Clearing my Empire bonus and Stars bonus this weekend didn't hurt, either. Since the flight was fully half my expenses for the trip (except maybe booze if I get to close to Al), this allows the wifey to let me out of town the weekend after our 10th anniversary. Provided I do all sorts of romantic shite the weekend before. Like cuddle in a cabin in Asheville and take the Christmas tour of Biltmore Estate. I'm fine with that, long as there's plenty of Biltmore red wine and gettin' freaky later on.

Rule #1 - Don't visualize.

Rule #2 - No really, don't visualize.

Anyway - see you in Vegas! And I owe Drizz a drink.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Tournament for Carl

Monday night, October 17th, a bunch of actors, bankers, directors and theatre people in Charlotte are going to get together to help out one of our own.

Carl McIntyre has been an actor in Charlotte for the past couple of decades. He's been in shows all over town, as well as working in film & television and teaching acting classes. On September 15th, Carl had a serious stroke.

I get chills every time I think about it. A stroke is the worst thing that can possibly happen to an actor, outside of dying. Our instrument is our body and our voices, and a stroke takes that away willy-nilly. Carl has made amazing recovery, and is home from the hospital now after treatment and a surgery to repair a heart condition that was previously undiagnosed and led to the stroke.

But he still can't talk. He is an actor that can't speak, and those of you who work in front of the footlights or camera can imagine what that must be like.

Carl was a avid poker player, so we're getting together as many people as possible to raise money for his recovery, because like most theatre folk, Carl was underinsured, so this will be a double strain on his family - loss of revenue from being unable to work and the medical bills.

I'm not expecting any of you folks to come to Charlotte to play, but if any of you folks have done things that are cool (like write a book) that you could autograph and donate, or if you have any other type of neat-o stuff that could work as prizes, please let me know. All the buy-ins go to Carl and his family, so I'm trying to come up with stuff for the final table and top few finishers.



Jebus, Pauly!

Why are you playing poker? Is it for the money or the challenge? Are you bored and need a hobby? Do you need the social acceptance? Is it to rid yourself of several of your hangups? Are you a compulsive gambler and action junkie? Are you curious into the human psyche? Are you sexually or socially inadequate and need to overcome those haunting self-esteem issues with a winning session at the poker tables?

Back to Keirkegaard.

Not all poker bloggers are overeducated navel-gazers, but damn I will never pass up an opportunity to explore the lint trap, so here goes.

After dropping 2 buy-ins playing NLHE Friday night I came to realize that money is just how I keep score at poker. I'm never going to quit my job to be a poker pro. Not only do I only have a moderate interest in doing so, I am self-aware enough to know that I don't have the discipline required. I don't have it in me to grind it out 4-tabling Limit on Party (Bonus code IGGY) for 8-10 hours a day. I get too easily distracted (bright shiny objects!) and bored.

So I play because I like to hang out with people and not always participate in the catty BS that tends to dominate the conversation when theatre people get together. Playing a weekly home game gives me some semblance of a social life, which beats the hell out of laying in bed watching Smallville reruns on DVD.

I'm also competitive by nature, and arrogant enough to think that I can be at least passing good at anything I set my mind to. Which explains why my golfing interest waned rapidly after repeated blows to my ego proved that I was never going to be good enough to wipe down Tiger's shoes, much less actually play any reasonable game of golf. But poker is something that with a little dedication, I can get good enough at to not completely humiliate myself, and I get to hang out and drink at the same time. Which usually leads to the complete humiliation. But anyway.

Then there's the bloggers. The people who are listed on the right side of the screen are a reason that I play. I love reading the exploits of the poker bloggers as much as I love playing. Having this blog makes me feel like part of a semi-exclusive club, and I was always too big a geek to get into any clubs. Plus writing has always been something I've loved to do, so this is an outlet that doesn't take too much work and I get my writing jones taken care of.

RANDOM TANGENT ALERT - The book that my poem is published in is now available on! It's called My South, and my poem is on page 26, facing the picture of the Elvis impersonator. I'm also the final performance on the DVD, which features the whole piece, not just the snippet they printed in the book. So if anybody wants a copy, go online and order one! I'm now a nationally published poet, even if it was by accident. The details of how all that happened are here.

Anyway, that's my answer to Pauly's question, which makes perfect sense as questions go. I play for fun, a little bit of profit, sociability and a sense of community.